California State University, Chico civil engineering students soundly won the Mid-Pacific Regional steel bridge building competition for the fourth year in a row.
Chico hosted the April 29 competition for six competing universities: University of California, Davis; California State University, Sacramento; the University of Nevada at Reno; San Francisco State; CSU, Fresno; and CSU, Chico.
The Chico team placed first in the four main judging categories of assembly time, aggregate deflection, efficiency, and economy. The award-winning bridge weighed 114 pounds, had an aggregate deflection of .47 inches, and supports over 2,500 pounds of load. It was assembled in less than ten minutes by the three team members, captain Kari Rowberg, John Bailey, and Troy Kamisky.
To comprehend the engineering mastery of Chico's bridge, it helps to compare it in weight and aggregate deflection (the amount the bridge sags under its load) to its competition. Reno's third place bridge weighed 131 pounds and had over four times the deflection of Chico's lighter entry, while second place CSU, Sacramento's bridge weighed 403 pounds and had about three times the aggregate deflection of Chico's bridge.
Professor Joel Arthur, faculty adviser, originally assigned the bridge as a class project in a senior level advanced structural engineering class. The design from that class was optimized by the team of students in the student structural engineering club.
Jim Luallen and Mike Renwick, ECST laboratory technicians, were instrumental in the fabrication. A dozen students were involved in various aspects of the project. Rowberg, Bailey and Kamisky took the lead and, especially in the last few months, have been working a minimum of sixteen hours each week.
When asked why Chico's team is so good, Arthur and his students readily said, "Teamwork!"
Sacramento will join the Chico team at the nationals at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on May 19 through 21.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News